Tips for Your Marathon Training
If you’re about to embark on your first marathon there is so much information and advice to take on. It can get quite confusing at times and you may be unsure of the best plan of action. Here we try and simplify things to give you the best advice.
If you signed up for a marathon we can only assume you are already a runner and run regularly anyway. If you’re not, before you even start a marathon plan you want to do 6-8 weeks of regular consistent running up to about 10k. This should ease you in gently and not be as much as a shock.
Make sure you have all the right gear. It’s a good idea to get a new pair of runners or two (of the same brand/make). They are going to be doing a lot of mileage and need to give you the right support. Most leading running shops have brilliant advisor’s who will help you pick the right trainers. Alternatively if you want to look into your gait in greater detail we suggest The Running Lab.
Ensure you have the right all weather gear. Winter is a harsh time to train and you need to make sure you’re prepared for all weather. You don’t want make yourself sick and have to take time off from training.
Pre-hab is really important. Are you ready and strong enough to embark on this journey? Most runners just think about putting the mileage in and don’t think of the consequences this has on the body. Injuries are most likely to occur in runners who don’t put in the strength work and up the mileage too quickly.
Having a strength program is important to prepare your body for what’s to come. Doing some squats, lunges and balance work will improve your strength and endurance and your body will thank you in the long run.
The Training Plan:
You want to aim to run 4-5 x week depending on where you are in your program.
This will allow for two rest days and at least one strength day.
It is ok to cross train on rest days e.g. swim/cycle but nothing vigorous.
DON’T SKIP REST DAYS! You do need at least one a week so the body can recover otherwise you are asking too much of it.
Aim to run every other day as this allows for recovery.
Remember plans are there to be followed but can be managed around life. Don’t kill yourself trying to add in sessions that don’t fit.
Don’t double up on heavy training days. If you miss a day think where else you may be able to fit it in. If you can’t don’t worry just try harder in your next session or really think about the week ahead to try and prevent it from happening again.
The Sessions in a week:
You want to aim for one strength session, one long run, a hill or interval session, a tempo or a few steady runs.
Strength session – important to reduce the risk or injury and build strength for endurance.
Long run – usually on the weekend when there is more time. Take this slow and build up the mileage to race day. No need to go above 22 miles. The first six weeks should be increase by regular increments in time then by 2 miles each week.
Hill runs – hard sessions but help to build strength and endurance in the legs and builds the cardiovascular system.
Interval runs – hard session and good way to work on speed and get fitter.
Tempo run – usually slightly faster than race pace but good to practice steady pacing.
Steady run – easier session used for recovery usually not more than 5 miles.
The aim is to keep training regular and to not increase mileage too quickly. You should aim to peak 4 weeks before the race then start tapering. (Slowly reducing intensity and duration of sessions to prepare for race day.) There’s a lot of great plans out there to follow ranging from beginner to advance. Some you may have to pay for but there are a lot of great free ones too. Check the race’s official website for more information.